Letís face it; predictions of another year of polar vortex have fallen flat on their face. The Quebec snowmobile association isnít showing much open, and the parts that are open have limited availability. Rain and warm temps are keeping much of the southern part of Ontario
closed, with a few dribs and drabs open north of the Soo and Algonquin Park
. And the word from the Michigan trails is that even with the snow they got, warm temps are messing everything up again.
So whatís a diehard sledder to do? Complain about it on snowmobile forums? Trade the Ski-Doo for a motorcycle? Take up jogging?
Absolutely not. Thereís one place that regularly gets tons of snow, deep cold and miles and miles of perfectly groomed and wide trails, along with some decent backcountry options.
Itís called the Northern Corridor
and itís renowned within Ontario, Canada as the first and last place to have trails open in a province known for sledding. Last year its trails were open on December 16<sup>th</sup> (a few short days after the Sault Trailblazers got theirs open
) and they didnít close until late April Ė maybe even May. Itís that cold up there.
Just a few short days ago the Northern Corridor opened its first tour loop, the Gateway to the North
and as of the writing of this article, 75% of the system is open. If you wanted to ride for five days straight, you could easily do it. Take that El Nino!
For all those sledders out there getting cabin fever, this is exactly what the doctor ordered. If youíre heading up from southern Ontario, you probably have your favorite place to stay inCochrane or Smooth Rock Falls. Cochrane is a pure sledding town Ė so if you need parts you can generally get sorted out here. As with all of Northern Ontario, there is plenty of parking all over the place for big trucks hauling trailers full of sleds.
Plenty of riders link up with Bill Froud at Extreme Tours Cochrane
to take them to do some backcountry riding in the legendary Abitibi Canyon or the powerlines north of Smooth Rock. You can also go for the hardcore adventure and ride all the way to the Arctic ocean. Bill runs the only gas station on the Abitibi Loop, so youíll definitely run into him if youíre sledding this side of the Corridor.
Further west youíll find the Francophone communities of Kapuskasing and Hearst (for you English kids, donít worry Ė everyone speaks English too.) These lumber towns have some decent sized loops as well (165 and 145 kilometers respectively) Ė you could literally do a new loop every day in the Corridor. Or, for the incredibly adventurous, you could do the mammothNorthern Adventure Loop Ė at 1645km (or 1000 miles!) of uninterrupted trail riding, with a little extra gas, you could snowmobile for five days straight.